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N.Ireland FTTP Broadband ISP Fibrus Acquired by Infracapital

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 (10:12 am) - Score 1,729

Belfast-based UK ISP Fibrus, which recently started the £85m+ roll-out of a new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband network in Northern Ireland and aims to cover 145,000 premises by around 2024 (here), has been acquired by the infrastructure equity investment arm of M&G Plc – Infracapital.

The latest independent data from Thinkbroadband suggests that 44% of Northern Ireland can already access a “full fibre” network, which is up sharply from 35.42% at the end of 2019. Most of that is as a result of private investment from Openreach (BT) and Virgin Media, but new entrant Fibrus recently began a big project of its own in County Down and has also been linked to interest in the state aid supported Project Stratum contract (here).

Assuming all goes to plan then Fibrus aims have built their coverage out to around 15,000 premises by mid-2020, although this target was set before the COVID-19 crisis and so is subject to the same possible disruption as everybody else is experiencing.

We should point out that much of the original £85m investment in their deployment was supported by Infracapital, which helps to explain why the investment firm has today signed an agreement to acquire Fibrus via a “controlling interest in the business.” Sadly no details of this agreement were revealed in the announcement itself.

NOTE: Infracapital also owns or has stakes in Gigaclear, SSE Enterprise Telecoms and WightFibre etc.

Conal Henry, Fibrus Co-Founder and Chairman, said:

“We are exceptionally proud to bring this investment to Northern Ireland. Alongside Infracapital, Fibrus now has the firepower to deliver, at scale and pace, our radical plan to transform the broadband landscape in the region. With this investment we will deliver the digital infrastructure that will transform our economy and our society. Fibrus is an organisation that is about being the best.

We want to build the best networks, so we’ve recruited the best colleagues and partners and now we have attracted the best investors. I feel confident that this world class combination with Infracapital will achieve great things for a great many people.”

Andy Matthews, Head of Greenfield at Infracapital, said:

“We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Fibrus and to play our role in delivering an increasingly essential service to society in tandem with delivering value to our investors. We are also particularly excited to announce our first investment in Northern Ireland.

The investment is indicative of the significant opportunity to build, deliver and operate essential greenfield infrastructure across Europe, where we are seeing a number of opportunities to deploy further funds in the coming months and years.”

Fibrus said they will draw on Infracapital’s experience of fibre roll-out in the UK and Continental Europe, while company founders Conal Henry and Dominic Kearns will continue on to provide “extensive local telecoms experience to drive the company forward as it expands into new areas.”

Prices start from £39.99 per month (currently discounted to £19.99) for an unlimited 100Mbps package with a router and free installation (it’s only free with a gigabit voucher), which rises to £84.99 per month (discounted to £49.99) for their top 1000Mbps tier. All of these are on 24 month contract terms.

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5 Responses
  1. Avatar Steve

    What you get when you bring the energy of a start up and fill it with a team of the most experienced and nicest people in the industry…. Having had the privilege of working inside Fibrus over the past few months, I can say without doubt that these boy are going to shake up the industry in
    #fullfibre and for Northern Ireland a big step towards a ‘global competitive economy that works for everyone’.

  2. Avatar Daza

    Anyone know what the upload speeds are? I checked the website and they’re not mentioned.

  3. Avatar A_Builder

    Lets hope it works well for everyone in NI.

    Anyone trying to get FTTP to the masses deserves support.

    It is just more evidence of the investability of FTTP ATM. And more evidence of the rapidly increasing smouldering under VM backside that is threatening to bust into flame at any moment. VM may have a couple of billion in the bank but that is chump change compared to what the big boys are investing in UK FTTP ATM.

  4. Avatar Matt

    @Mark have you heard any updates on Project Stratum? It was reported in a few local papers here that the scope of the project had changed and funding would now only be focused on areas that they could cover 1000+ property’s rather than the more rural areas it had been originally intended for. Not great news for Fermanagh & South Tyrone if true. Link to the story: https://fermanaghherald.com/2020/04/rural-areas-set-to-lose-out-in-new-broadband-scheme/

  5. Avatar Scott

    @SteveE. Now, now. At the end of the day we are all hookers but you are showing more thigh than is really necessary.

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